Monthly Archives: October 2010

Book Buddies: Discovering Your Tribe

by Shik Love, Senior Writer

Here’s the thing, when you become a self-published author, you become a salesperson. As a newly minted salesperson you’ll be tempted to believe that your customer is your only audience. An honest mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.

Finding your tribe (“those like-minded souls who make your heart sing” –Kelly Cutrone) is an essential part of your success. Gathering a circle of peers, not only helps you to continue to hone your craft, it also creates a unified front in sharing opportunity-rich referrals, building brand recognition and growing book-purchasing audiences.

If you’re a children’s book author, join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. A horror writer? Join the Horror Writer’s Association. A writer annoyed by the fact that another reality-show pseudo-celeb has a New York Times bestseller, check out Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors.

Believe me, no matter how you define your work, somewhere out there is a tribal meeting in process, drumming you home.

Book Signings: An Extraordinary Adventure!

By Jann Robbins, Author

This is a guest post from Jann Robbins, author of Harold and Me and widow of Harold Robbins, the best-selling American fiction author. Jann has years of experience with books and book marketing. She is currently blogging about her life with Harold, old Hollywood and all the stories behind the stories on

I love book signings, except when no one shows up! I have done book signings for my own novels as well as my husband’s novels and most have been packed with enthusiastic readers. But, there are times when you sit alone. I have been a participant of book signings since 1982 and seen a lot of changes. I began my experience in the book business with the #1 best-selling author in the world, Harold Robbins. He signed hundreds of books, talking and sharing with his reader. Some wanted special inscriptions and he always accommodated them. If we frequented a particular restaurant some people would bring their books over to him and ask him to sign. He denied no one. It was his pleasure, so I felt I learned from the best.

After Harold was no longer here to sign his books I was asked to sign for him. Since I was not the author I wanted to give his fans a tidbit, a story to take away with the book. I was always grateful that they had gotten into their car, drove and attended a book signing. It was a genuine pleasure to meet each one of them.  

Book signings always have an embedded treasure awaiting the author, and usually one that you will always cherish. So, don’t avoid book signings. You are the entrepreneur for your work, and the person who has created the characters that will engage the reader. It’s up to you to make the event “pop,” not only in reading excerpts, but giving your reader something they don’t know about your story, your characters or you. And remember, you are meeting someone who has taken the time to come see you. Always give them a memory. And if no one is in line, go into the store and engage a customer in conversation. If they don’t like your book genre, recommend another writer.  And for you, finding that treasure in the moment with your reader is priceless.

I was in Albuquerque once signing soon after Harold’s passing. I was talking about his life and times. The book store had a glass storefront. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a car pull up and let a girl, about 14 years old, out of the double-parked car. Mentally, I dismissed her as someone who would be coming to the book signing. And yet, I was completely surprised when I looked out on the crowd several minutes later and she was sitting on the back row. I immediately engaged her in conversation, asking her if she knew the writer, Harold Robbins. She answered emphatically that she did and began to repeat Harold’s history about earning a million dollars before his 21st birthday and losing his commodities in the sugar market. All the guests were fascinated with her and so was I. I told her that Harold would have loved to be there to meet her. She looked up at me smiling, “Oh, he is, that’s why I came.” Needless to say, it was an extraordinary moment and a “treasure”. I gave her a copy of the book I was signing with a special inscription about Harold.

Being an author/entrepreneur is an extraordinary adventure!

Virtual Bookstore: Reads for women, parents and families

This is a guest post by Hannah Shaner at BohlsenPRFor more information or to request a review copy of any of the books below, contact Hannah at

Barely Exposed
By Latana

How often does society listen to the opinions and views of young adults?

In her new book of photos, Barely Exposed, photographer Latana delves into this notion, proving the importance of this misrepresented age group by photographing and surveying 60 geographically and ethnically diverse 17- to 21-year-olds to better understand how they see the world and themselves.

Who should read this: Young adults, parents with children transitioning from youth to adulthood

Find out more:


Any Mother’s Daughter
By Bonnie Diraimondo

One woman is out to change the way Americans think of HPV (human papillomavirus).

By now, most Americans are aware that HPV can cause sexually transmitted diseases and lead to cervical cancer. What most people don’t know, however, is that HPV also causes cancers of the anus, penis, vagina, vulva, head, neck, throat and lungs. Since being diagnosed with HPV in 1987 that led to anal cancer, Bonnie Diraimondo, RN, of Oviedo, Fla., has written Any Mother’s Daughter: One Woman’s Lifelong Struggle with HPV to remedy this dangerous lack of information.

Who should read this: Women of all ages, families of women at risk

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The Daily Faith Devotional Journal
By Jerome Spriggs

The Daily Faith Devotional Journal by Jerome Spriggs is an at-home tool that can be used to know and learn the Bible and to incorporate it into everyday life. 

Who should read this: Men and women of all ages

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The Educated Heart
By Janet Logan

In The Educated Heart, Janet Logan takes her readers into the life of Bobbie Bloom, a wife-turned-widow who adopts her late husband’s child after his death. After the estranged nanny kidnaps the child, Bobbie has to overcome her reluctance to accept the strange circumstances of this adoption, her sudden jolt into motherhood and her reunion with her old love, Norman. Interjected with zany humor and true-to-life situations, man, woman, spouse and parent can all find a piece of themselves in The Educated Heart.

Who should read this: Women and men of all ages

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Soft As Iron
By Giovanna Lavena

Soft As Iron is the story of a scorned child who becomes an abused wife and mother. Born out of wedlock in pre-WWII, religiously conservative Italy, Vanna begins her life in an orphanage, despised by her maternal grandmother from birth. Soon reunited with her domineering mother and manipulative father, she seeks solace from the struggles of her childhood in marriage, only to discover her new husband’s abusive ways. Battered and scared, Vanna must risk her life as she knows it to protect herself and her children, to overcome a lifetime of fear and finally find the path she has always deserved.

Who should read this: Women, especially those needing inspiration to stay strong and stand up for themselves

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Jesus My Son: Mary’s Journal of Jesus’ Early Life
By Mary R. Bailey

Mary takes us on a journey of Jesus’ early years as seen through the eyes of His mother. She offers a new perspective of the incidents of the birth related by Matthew and Luke, and introduces events that may have happened in those years between His birth and the time Jesus leaves home to begin His ministry. An inspirational, easy-to-read narrative written as only a mother can—deeply, from her heart.

Who should read this: Religious women, mothers, anyone interested in Biblical history

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Polyxena: A Story of Troy
By Herb Allenger

Whatever happened to Polyxena, Achilles’ love, after his death? Author Herb Allenger lets us hear her thoughts in Polyxena: A Story of Troy. Once Troy falls, Neoptolemus (Achilles’ son), claims this youngest daughter of King Priam as his prize, but she rejects him; in a fit of rage, he contrives a story that dooms her. The reader is privy to her confessions to Aphrodite as she relives her relationships with Achilles, Helen and others as she seeks solace in the hope that her existence was not futile.

Who should read this: Anyone who enjoys romance or Greek/Roman history

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Finding My Breath: My Journey from OCD to Yoga
By Rochelle Lynn Falack

Author Rochelle Lynn Falack tried medication and therapy to deal with her OCD. Then she tried yoga – and her life has never been the same. Today, Falack is a Kripalu-certified yoga teacher who has practiced and taught the art for more than 20 years. Finding My Breath is her remarkable story, from the abusive treatment that led to her OCD to a mind-altering trip to Bali and back to her Jewish heritage, her New York home and her marriage that stayed strong despite many setbacks.

Who should read this: Anyone interested in personal stories of triumph or in finding a way to bring more focus to their lives.

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The Girls from Winnetka
By Marcia Chellis

“Did we make history, or did history make us?”  That question by Margo, one of The Girls from Winnetka, defines the exploration that is Marcia Chellis’ memoir.  She shares funny, gritty and heartbreaking tales from the lifelong friendships of five women who grew up and shaped by the nice-girl rules of the 1950’s, but not defined by them.  A New York Times bestselling author, Chellis has written two successful nonfiction books about women, Living with the Kennedy’s:  The Joan Kennedy Story and Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives.

Who should read this:  Women who grew up in the 1950s or want to better understand who did.

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Book Signing Basics: Don’t Just Sit There and Look Pretty

by Jessica Barrett, Events Manager

This past weekend I assisted several authors with bookstore signings at a major retailer. I learned a lot. I think the authors learned a lot. Some things are beyond the author’s control like store traffic & weather. Some things may be in the gray area of control such as in-store placement, signage, and announcements. And some things are very much in the author’s control.  As the author, you need to take control of your signing. Be approachable, active and be your own advertising agency.

Being approachable simply means smiling. Look inviting and open. Even if the crowd is light and the day isn’t going as planned, you need to keep the smile on your face throughout your event. Nothing turns away a potential customer like a scowl.

Being active means you need to seek out readers. Products, and especially books, don’t sell themselves. Don’t just sit there and smile, get out from behind your table and talk to shoppers, starting with those who are milling about your book’s genre section or those that have just entered the store. Engage them. Encourage them to read the back cover. Have a polished elevator speech and pitch the plot in 30 seconds – if you’re not succinct and confident when discussing your book, what does that say to your potential reader?

Being your own advertising agency means that you need to do your legwork prior to your signing. The store will likely not be of much assistance. Meet with them prior to the event and set expectations by telling them what you’d like for your signing. Suggest table location, provide a 25-word blurb announcement they can make periodically during your signing to let shoppers know you’re in the store, request they put your signing on their website and ask to put posters up in advance – in the entryway, near the restrooms (usually there is a bulletin board there) and in the café. Put flyers up around town – at the library, coffee shop and other places readers congregate. Send postcards, emails and post on Facebook and other social media.  Alert local events sites when and where your event is. Inviting family and friends may not result in many sales as they likely already have your book, but having a crowd around your table intrigues people and makes them more willing to stop by and see what’s going on.

Whether your signing meets your expectations or not is dependent on many factors. Remember each time you do a signing you’re gaining knowledge of what works and doesn’t and most importantly you’re gaining exposure … so smile!

6 Reasons You Need a Facebook Fan Page

by Maggie Hames, Social Media Specialist

When Mark Zuckerburg said Facebook was ‘almost guaranteed’ to reach 1 billion users, few doubted him. After all, there are only four countries in the world that have yet to join the social network (Russia, Japan, China and Korea). Facebook has become such an integral part of web use, “many would argue that it’s second only to Google in its importance to online marketers.”(via Mashable)  So how can you use this opportunity to promote your book? Facebook Fan Pages. And here’s why:

  1. It’s free and easy. You can create a fan page in just a few minutes with your book cover and website URL. This quickly gives you a platform for promoting your book online and leveraging your already developed network of friends. They key to being successful is staying engaged.  
  2. Keep your fans updated. Most fans won’t visit your website everyday, but they will be on Facebook daily. Keep them up-to-date about new blog posts, book signings, book reviews and media hits.
  3. Become searchable. Facebook fan pages are public, which means they can be indexed by search engines and will often show up in results first. They can also link back to your website, adding SEO (search engine optimization) value to your site.
  4. Interact with fans. While Twitter only allows for 140 characters a tweet, Facebook conversations have no limit. Talk with readers about their favorite chapters, interesting characters and more. Passionate and active fans become great advocates for your book. 
  5. Customize. You can create customized tabs featuring your book cover, video trailer and other content specific to your book.  After fans ‘like’ your page, they will be directed to the ‘wall’ each time they visit. But you can also create a welcome tab for new visitors to land on.
  6. Facebook pages are measurable. When you manage a fan page, Facebook installs ‘Insights’ tracking everything from ‘likes’ to ‘mentions.’ This allows you to track your growth in Facebook fans down to a multiple of demographics. It is a great tool for tracking your successes and failures, allowing you to constantly grow your fan base.

Target Your Reader, Not the President

by Kevin Gray, Public Relations Manager

The first rule of publicity has always been “there’s no bad publicity.” Well maybe there is. An, what’s being described as, “overexuberant” author hurled his book at President Obama during a rally in Philly on Monday. Reportedly the scribe wanted to ensure that the President got a copy of his book. For those authors thinking of employing the same approach — DON’T! This is a good way to end up with 15-20 years of quiet time in a small cage.

Nearly every month, I get calls from authors who want to “get on Oprah” or “get their books to the President.” While I appreciate the enthusiasm of these folks for their works; these are not practical approaches to bringing your masterpiece to readers. A well-planned, strategic integrated approach will get you much further. Start small, build a foundation then expand outward.

Think of publicity as dropping a pebble in the middle of a pond. It starts as a small disturbance before rippling out across the water to the distant shore. Dropping the pebble near the shore, won’t get the same long lasting effect.

One of my favorite examples of this phenomenon occured a couple of years ago. The authors of Lucia’s Survivial Guide and Cookbook landed an article in their small, local paper in California. The book is a collection of recipes and housekeeping tips complied 30 years ago by Lucille Campilongo for her daughter Gina to use while studying overseas. Gina chose to self-publish the tattered notebook and to give to her mother for Mother’s Day. The local paper picked up the story and that was that.

Except that a certain host of The Today Show happened to be reading that small local paper; and instructed her producer to contact the self-publisher. A month later, Lucille, Gina and Lucille’s granddaughter were guests on The Today Show. Thousands of books were purchased and media all over the country picked up on the story. All from an article in a small local paper about a gift from a daughter to her mother.

Pretty big pebble.

The Changing Face of Publishing: Digital Formats

by Megan Leiter, Event Coordinator

A digital boom is reverberating within the literary world with the rise of eBooks, eReaders, eBookstores and apps. Some establishments are trading in the traditional form of books altogether in exchange for a digital replacement. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary is considering never publishing another print edition. In addition, some colleges are requiring students to purchase eReaders such as the Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad to download their textbooks instead of purchasing printed textbooks. Such is true at Long Island University where they’ve launched the “IPAD PROJECT,” a program that sells Apple iPads to students for half price and allows them to connect with faculty, classmates and advisors, get the latest campus news and apps, download digital textbooks, take notes in class, and even organize and store their assignments and presentations.

The publishing and book industry is moving to digital formats fast, so what does that mean for authors? What are the advantages?

  • For authors, this gives you the chance to meet a whole new demographic other than the traditional in-store book buyer
  • Digital and multimedia formats offer readers a new way of reading books with photos, interactive links, games, animation, music, voiceovers and more like never before
  • Children’s authors gain the capacity to engage their readers more effectively than ever
  • Environmentally friendly digital formats offer cheaper per-purchase prices for eBooks and entice readers to make a satisfying purchase (doing good for the environment, and saving money compared to printed books)

As a consumer who has an expansive collection of printed books in addition to an e-reader myself, I strongly believe that traditional, paper books will always remain in the market but digital formats will continue to grow and give readers more options than ever before.

I encourage you to talk to your publisher about offering your book in a digital format, whether it’s an eBook or digital app, to reach a quickly growing segment of the book market.